Are Gus and Joe real people-or did you just make them up?
That is the gist of scores of letters I have received from readers of Popular
Science Monthly, since I began passing along the nuggets of car wisdom that I
get from these two veterans of the garage business.
Let there be no doubt about
it-they're both very much alive! It's true that Gus Wilson, Joe Clark, and
their Model Garage are all fictitious names. I had to promise the
real, flesh-and-blood "Gus and Joe" to keep their identity secret before they
would let me tell you of their experiences. But it won't be betraying any
confidence to say that the "Model garage" which they jointly own is situated in
a town not far from New York City. "Gus," the veteran automobile mechanic
who knows more about the innards of a car than any two other men I could name,
bosses the mechanical work, while his partner, "Joe," handles the bookkeeping
side of the business. If you ever chance to stop at their garage, quite
likely you will recognize them-for the artist who draws these illustrations
knows them personally, and his pictures of them are as true to life as I've
tried to make these stories of their experiences.
Gus started in the
garage game back in the days before automobiles had windshields, and when the
progressive gear shift was the latest thing out. Since then he's worked on
pretty nearly every make of car that ever cluttered the road. Gasoline
motors are his hobby, as well as his profession, and his worse fault as a
practical business man is his reluctance to let any helper take work off his
hands. He won't do it, if he thinks he can do the job a little better
himself-and he usually can!
may seem gruff before you get to know him, but he really has only one pet
grouch. When he sees a man abusing his car, clashing the gears or slamming
on the brakes so hard that the car screeches to a stop, it affects him the same
way it would you to see a stupid or cruel driver beating a horse. On the
other hand, he's never too busy to drop his tools, sit down beside a man who
takes an intelligent interest in his car, get out a greasy pencil and a soiled
envelope to draw diagrams on, and tell his customer plenty that isn't to be
found in books. As for Joe, he divides his time between poring over his
ledgers and admiring his partner's skill.